MCMC on fake news: “Malaysians unfamiliar with clarifying process”

By Najmi Mamat

CYBERJAYA, 16 March 2018: In the wake of fake news issue that has recently brought to the new legislation debate, most Malaysians are unaware of the process of clarifying them, according to an official of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

Eneng Faridah Iskandar, who is the agency’s senior director of Advocacy and Outreach Division, said the people have no idea about which is the right authority that deals with particular issues as they are not among government servants nor are they journalists.

“They are not familiar in terms of who is the legitimate source on the subject matter,” she said.

The agency started to realise this matter after experiencing with awareness campaign which showed that most of members of the general public were struggling in getting the right facts.

Besides educating the public through advocacy programmes such as ‘Klik Dengan Bijak’, MCMC has created a portal since last year as a platform to clarify the truth of any issues that have been circulated on social media.

“Realising the issue that the public has been faced with, we took the initiative to develop this portal,” Eneng Faridah said, adding that “ portal houses over 1,000 news items that archived the repository of fake news which have been circulated before”.

With the average of six per day, the portal had received a lot of feedbacks and public tip-offs that have fortunately turned out to be 90% of them were already covered in the portal.

However, she emphasised that the portal, which is built to be the references for fake news, will only be activated if they receive supports from everybody.

Based on the number of fake news complaints, the reports had shown an escalation where over 170 complaints were being reported to the agency as compared to more than that in the last five years.

Eneng Faridah cited news on the biggest issues that often involved Muslim consumers like the Halal regulation, in particular food and beverage industry. She said most of the cases were related to the everyday lives of people.

It is the agency’s role to provide clarification through the portal, though sometimes the issue was not totally fake, rather it only requires for clarifications to be made due to misunderstanding.

According to her, media literacy is the key skill that all Malaysians should have. Lacking of this skill has made people simply read the headlines and jumped to conclusion, to be misunderstood.

“Not only the ability to access and look for information through multiple sources, but also the ability to analyse the content in terms of credibility and authenticity of sources,” she added.

Being concerned on harmfulness of fake news that could happened in Malaysia like in other countries, the agency constantly reminds Malaysians to “always double check and verify the sources before sharing” as it is concerned with the gullibility of general public.

“It has a very broad national objective where such issue is not only a concern at national level, but also at global level,” she told IIUMToday.

She revealed that the fast-checking portal will meet users through mobile application on 20 March which will be officially launched at MCMC here. ***


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